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Finding a Job After an Extended Time Off

bigg-challenge.jpgKathryn called us on the Bigg phone. Not the Bat phone … we don’t live in a cave!

She said that life on her own terms meant staying home with her two boys until they were both old enough to be in school all day. They’ve reached that point so she wants to return to the workforce. Besides that, she and her husband are looking forward to having some extra money available.

She says she has been checking classified ads and the job boards just about every day. Unfortunately, she’s not seeing many jobs that she’s both interested in and qualified for.

She’s applied for several jobs and had a couple of interviews which she doesn’t feel went so well. She thinks that the eight years she’s been out of the workforce may be hurting her chances. She asked us for our suggestions.

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It’s who you know

Keep in mind that we’re facing a tough job market right now, so you’re not alone in your frustration. One thing to add to your efforts is reaching out to your network. It’s something that a lot of people overlook or don’t place enough value on.

Start by making a list of everyone you know. Then start contacting them. You may start with an e-mail, but try to meet them in person or at least catch up with a phone call.

Be yourself, but make sure you tell them what you’re up to. Also find out what they’ve been doing. You never know … something they say may spark an opportunity for you.

Ideally, you’ll get a referral as a result of this conversation. However, don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. You got to spend some time with a friend or got to know an acquaintance better. They can keep their eyes and ears open for an opportunity for you.

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

Be sure to follow up after your meeting or phone call. Let them know how much you enjoyed seeing them. Help with any challenges they may have brought up if you can. If you can help them, they’ll probably go out of their way to help you!

Keep in touch with them. If you see an article they may be interested in, share it with them. If you see a great deal on something you know they like, let them know about it.

The bottom line is: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

Interviewing

In her message, Kathryn said she’s had some difficult questions in her interviews. For example, one woman asked her if she thought she’d be able to get to work on time even with her two kids.

Of course, that’s an illegal question, which you have every right to point out, Kathryn. However, you’re probably better off emphasizing that you’ve always been punctual if that’s the case. For instance, we bet you were on time for the interview. Point that out!

The job you’ve been doing

You’ve been a full-time manager for the last eight years. You just haven’t been getting paid directly for it in cash. Don’t underestimate the skills you’ve learned.

Stress what you’ve done and what your strengths are. Bring the skills you’ve learned out in your answers. Have specific examples ready. These will depend on the job you’re seeking. Some examples:

Do you keep your family’s schedule or oversee the finances?

Have you coordinated a remodeling project?

Think about it. You’ll quickly see that you gained a lot of valuable experience.

Preparation

There’s a great way to prepare for interviews: role-playing. Simulate an interview by putting yourself in an environment as close to an actual interview as possible.

Get your husband to ask you questions or find a friend, preferably someone who interviews people as part of his or her job, and practice interviewing until your answers just roll off your tongue.

What suggestions do you have for Kathryn?

Please leave a comment below, call us at 888.455.BIGG or send us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks Kathryn for sharing your challenge with us. We wish you bigg success in your search efforts!

And we’re sure grateful that you checked in on us today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we talk about why you should play more at work.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00369-040909.mp3

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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

scratch_beginnings

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued our discussion with Adam Shepard. Adam is the author of the book Scratch Beginnings, which describes his year-long real-life experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive. Last time, Adam told us about the initial stages of his experiment and what it took to begin his path toward independence. Let’s get back to the conversation …

georgeAdam, have you ever thought about becoming a Wall Street investment banker, losing all your money and turning to the government for help?

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adam_shepard
I have not.

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Read more

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Battle Scarred vs. Battle Scared

battle You’re probably familiar with the term “battle scarred,” which refers to the scars from wounds received in combat. Most of us are fortunate to not have to engage in real warfare where the scars are visible (i.e. physical) and invisible (i.e. mental). Our battles are more esoteric so our “scars” tend to be only the second kind – mental.

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Today we want to talk about a different word – battle scared. It’s amazing what a difference that one “r” can make.

By our definition, “battle scared” means that the damage done in combat is so severe that the injured party doesn’t push on.

It’s possible to be battle scarred without becoming battle scared.

People who are battle scarred start with an open wound that leaves only a scar over time. For people who are battle scared, it’s as if the wound never closes.

Mentally, the battle is still fresh in their mind. So they’re unable to fight again today. Two people can engage in the same battle and experience the same thing. One pushes on to fight another day (the battle scarred) while the other can’t live with the memories of the battle (the battle scared).

An example: the recent financial crisis

We have an example of a battle recently – the financial troubles rolling through the economies of the developed world. We all may feel a little battle scared at this point because it is still so fresh in all of our minds. It’s important to pause and reflect so we’re only left with the scars of the battle.

Learn the proper lessons
“Stocks are too risky.”
“Playing the stock market is no different than gambling at a casino.”
“It’s the government’s fault.”
“It’s the banks’ fault.”

These are the wrong lessons to takeaway from this battle. They are the reactions of the battle scared.

“I took on too much debt.”
“I spent more than I took in.”
“I didn’t create a safety net for myself.”
“I focused too much on what I wanted now and not enough on my future.”
“I should have seen that stocks were risky.”

These are the right lessons to learn from this calamity. The battle scarred will come away with these things in mind.

Make the proper adjustments.
“I’m going to close out my 401(k).”
“I’m never going to invest in stocks again; they’re too risky.”
“I won’t take any risk ever again.”
“You can’t trust anyone.”

These knee jerk reactions are common among the battle scared.

“I’m going to have an emergency stash.”
“I’m going to get out of debt.”
“I’m going to learn to allocate my portfolio so I get decent returns for the risk I’m taking.”

The battle scarred will make adjustments, but they won’t go from one extreme to another.

Giving up gets you nowhere

We have to keep fighting. We have to learn the right things from every battle so we can make the correct adjustments. We should gain wisdom from the battles we fight. That wisdom will help us win the war faster with more certainty.

If we become battle scared, we fail. We fail to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in the coming days. We fail to reach our full potential. We must resolve to learn from our battles and make the adjustments necessary to win the next one.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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We’re so glad you stopped by today! Come back next time to learn how to get on the radio as an expert in your field. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00268-111908.mp3

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(Image by Marion Doss, CC 2.0)

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Overcoming Fear One Quote at a Time

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“Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.”

Swedish proverb
 
A problem may start out as a small little thing. But worry makes it grow. It becomes all consuming. You can’t stop thinking about it. Your heart beats faster. You can’t fall asleep or you wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

It follows you, even when you try to forget about it. It turns to fear.

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“Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.”
Dorothy Thompson

We’re afraid because we’re in the dark. We don’t know what to expect. The future seems so uncertain. It frightens us.

To get past that fright, turn on the light!

Gather some research. Study the issue. Ask for help. Do anything you can to create more certainty in the face of uncertainty.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

We fear things we think we can’t do. We fear those problems for which we don’t have a solution. We fear what we’ve never done.

Conquer fear by confronting it head-on. Take action. When you do something, you gain control. By gaining control, fear is diminished.

I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.

Louisa May Alcott

When a storm blows through, there may be damage or there may not. But you faced it!

You learned from it – things you did well and things you would change. You gained confidence to tackle yet another situation.

We all feel fearful at times. Don’t let it consume you. Confront it head on with a plan of attack. Take action. Then learn. You’ll only become stronger!

 

 

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Ben Franklin Got It Wrong

Change. A word that sparks fear in many people.

We work to get to that comfortable spot, and we want to stay there.

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
Ben Franklin

We think he got it wrong, not in the message, but in the semantics. We think he should have explicitly included change as something that is certain, rather than making it implicit in his quote.  


Will you lead or follow?

Even when it’s change that we’re creating ourselves, it can be scary. But it’s especially frightening when it’s a surprise.

For example, picture Jane telling her boss that she’s accepted a new position. She’s going to experience change. But isn’t that more comfortable than Jane’s boss telling her that her job is being eliminated?

It’s better to be a leader of change than a follower.

Who’s in control?
However, you can’t always control change. What you can control all the time is how you choose to respond to it.

You can also try to anticipate it. For example, as technology continues to develop, change is occurring more and more rapidly. Isn’t it safe to assume that this will continue?

So you have a choice to make. You either develop the skills to anticipate change so you get ahead of it or you just respond to it, after the pain becomes too great to do anything else.

Bigg action item – Separate the change into fads and trends
There are fads and there are trends. Fads come and go, so don’t worry about them. Trends are long-term. Get on board with them.

Divide a sheet into two columns – one called “Fads” and the other called “Trends”.  In your chosen career, think about the things affecting your industry. Now start putting those changes into the appropriate column.

What will affect your future income? Something will – for good or for bad!

Is it a short-term phenomenon? Or is it likely to continue? You can position yourself properly by seeing the change coming.

What opportunities will be created? What skills will be important? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Develop a plan for what you need to do to position yourself to take advantage of the trends.

Where do I get this information?

We’ll look at two examples. Search for the name of your industry followed by the word “association”. For example, “beauty salon association” yielded a half-dozen or so associations in Google.

You can also subscribe to magazines for your industry, or just about any industry you’re interested in following. They’re often free, supported by the advertisers. Amazon has an excellent resource that lists magazines by industry. It’s an extensive list!

So there are a number of ways to get the information you need so you can embrace change rather than begrudge it.

 

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